Most 15 year olds might be happy to discover they were going to spend six months living in Greece. But Zona is not one of them. When she finds out her dad plans to uproot her normal life so he can conduct research for a book on the Greek economy, she is determined to stay in Manhattan while he goes to Athens. But Zona’s dad has an ulterior motive: Greece is where Zona’s mom was born and where her large family still lives.
Zona’s mom died the day she was born, and there has been no contact with the family since then. She would prefer to leave it that way. Her trip to Greece will show her that family ties may stretch, but they are hard to break forever.
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin looks at how family betrayals and misunderstandings can lead to unnecessary pain through the years. Zona and her dad have led a quiet life together, and she has close friends that she relies on to help her navigate life. But as she gets to know her distant family, she learns about the power of family bonds, to both hurt and comfort.
Athens and the island of Crete both play supporting roles in the book as life in the big city and on a small, quiet island also come to life. I recommend Sophomore Year is Greek to Me for readers aged 12 and up.